Voice and Tone

Our members are what make the IAPP possible. They’re not just privacy pros—they’re real humans who have a job to get done, but have lives and interests beyond work, too.

Our voice reflects that. It recognizes that people are busy, even stressed, but we’re here to help and we won’t load you down with mumbo jumbo.

We are:

  • Conversational
  • Welcoming
  • Simple
  • Motivating
  • Useful

This should come through in every piece of content we produce. The following steps can help you get there.

What it sounds like:

Conversational
Welcoming
Simple
Motivating
Useful
Conversational:
Talk to us.
Welcoming:
Need someone to talk to?
Simple:
Let's go!
Motivating:
Get an edge.
Useful:
The IAPP is where you get the privacy know-how you need.
Conversational:
Hello. We're so glad you joined.
Welcoming:
Bring your business cards. We'll break the ice.
Simple:
It's your choice!
Motivating:
IAPP certification is what employers want.
Useful:
You're busy. We make it easy.
Conversational:
It's time to get cracking!
Welcoming:
It's all about you.
Simple:
Give back. Get back.
Motivating:
Make the most of your membership.
Useful:
Customize your site with the news you want to see.

1. Break through clutter with bold headlines.

Whether it’s an e-mail subject line or the headline of a brochure or web page, this might be the only chance you have to get someone’s attention. Make a strong impression by making a bold statement. Besides grabbing attention, bold headlines are your chance to add personality and a conversational tone.

Before:

Advance your career with the CIPP

After:

Earn the four most important letters in privacy (and they're not MYOB).

Before:

Try out a web conference—on us!

After:

Make yourself $179 smarter, free!

 

Tip: As a general rule of thumb, the length of email subject lines should be about 28-39 characters. But more importantly, to be most effective your subject line should be compelling and specific. Keep it brief for readability on mobile devices and use a pre-header to reinforce the message and call to action.

2. Make copy interesting—heck, maybe even fun!

Go ahead, make your copy sound like it came from a real live human being. Ideally, one you might want to spend some time with.

This humanizes the IAPP, to make it less of a vague entity and more of a group of people that folks will want to be a part of.

Before:

Online training is also available. The content and presentation are identical to a live training workshop, but you have the convenience of viewing the presentation at your own pace, and reviewing the sections you want to spend more time on.

After:

Are you the DIY type? Like to learn at your own pace, in your own place? Our interactive online training is just a click away. You’ll cover the same material as in an instructor-led class—and learn knowledge and skills you can put right to work.

Before:

Privacy certification is an important career effort that requires advance preparation. Choosing how you will prepare for your privacy certification exams is a personal choice that should include an assessment of your professional background, scope of privacy knowledge and your preferred method of learning…

After:

Privacy certification is serious business—so is preparing for it. The IAPP is strongly invested in your success, so we’ve developed the following guidelines to help you ace your exams.

3. Reward the reader (without getting in the way of the info).

Remember Cracker Jack? Not only did it taste pretty good, the lure of a prize at the bottom of every box kept you interested right to the last kernel. Give your readers rewards, and they’ll keep reading right until the end. What’s more, these kernels of flavor allow you to add a welcoming, fun personality to the IAPP. By punctuating your copy with rewards, you’ll keep the audience reading while also making your copy welcoming, conversational and motivating.

Before:

Whether you are an individual seeking to distinguish yourself from others in your field, or an organization looking to demonstrate your commitment to privacy and data protection, the CIPP can help you succeed.

After:

Advance my career? Increase my earning potential? Elevate my leadership profile?

Yes, please.

Before:

You must be an IAPP member in order to become certified.

After:

By pursuing your certification you’ll become part of the IAPP. As a member you’ll get access to a ton of educational resources and networking opportunities!

Before:

"The conference was fantastic! It was definitely a world-class event. The speakers were exceptional, the information, privacy education and networking events were very helpful."

"The event surpassed my expectations. The content was highly substantive, highly professional and first rate."

After:

"The conference was fantastic! It was definitely a world-class event. The speakers were exceptional, the information, privacy education and networking events were very helpful."

"The event surpassed my expectations. The content was highly substantive, highly professional and first rate."

"I saved a wad!"

Before:

As a member of the IAPP, you now have access to a tremendous community of passionate and knowledgeable privacy professionals eager to meet, share and learn.

After:

You’re now part of the largest and most comprehensive global information privacy community with over 40,000 members in more than 100 countries. Nice work!

4. Twitterize your copy.

The more you say, the less your audience will remember. Make “less is more” your new mantra—repeat it (the mantra, not the copy).

Not only will trimming copy to the essentials make the tone simpler, it also makes it more memorable. What’s more, it tells the reader that you respect their time and their intelligence.

Before (78 words):

Holding a CIPM designation shows that you understand the “how” of privacy. It demonstrates an understanding of privacy program governance and the skills necessary to establish, maintain and manage a privacy program across all stages of its operational life cycle.

Launched in 2013, the CIPM demonstrates an evolution in our industry. It is the first and only certification in privacy program management, developed in response to overwhelming demand to collect and collate common practices for managing privacy operations.

After (32 words):

Launched in 2013, the CIPM was developed in response to overwhelming demand to consolidate common practices for managing privacy operations. The CIPM is the first and only certification in privacy program management.

Before (38 words):

The Certified Information Privacy Technologist (CIPT) is the global standard in privacy certification for IT professionals.

The CIPT demonstrates understanding of privacy and data protection practices in the development, engineering, evaluation and deployment of IT products and services.

After (25 words):

The CIPT is the industry benchmark for IT professionals worldwide to validate their knowledge of privacy requirements and secure their place in the information economy.

5. Make it all about “you.”

Never underestimate the power of the word “you.” In order to make copy more personal and compelling, avoid words like “candidate” or “member” and use the word “you” instead. After all, candidates are people too.

Before:

Each certification candidate must become an IAPP member prior to testing. Membership provides access to the world’s largest community of privacy professionals, including valuable educational resources and networking opportunities. A variety of annual membership levels are available. Learn more about the benefits of IAPP membership.

After:

By pursuing your certification you’ll become part of the IAPP. As a member you’ll get access to a ton of educational resources and networking opportunities. Learn more about the benefits and what membership level is right for you.

6. Lead with the desired action.

Make your copy motivating and useful by using actionable words and phrases and moving that action up front where it won’t be missed. In email and web communications, this will also drive up response rates.

Before:

If you have not yet done so, opt in to the online Member Directory. Find other members and help them find you. Log in now to make sure you are included in this searchable directory of IAPP members.

After:

Opt in to the online Member Directory. Make sure you can find other members and help them find you. Log in now.

Before:

The CIPM is the first and only certification in privacy program management. It complements your CIPP designation by demonstrating that in addition to understanding laws and regulations around privacy, you also understand how to operationalize privacy in your organization through process and technology.

After:

Discover how to operationalize privacy and explore evolving practices and tools like:

  • Privacy impact assessments
  • Data classification schemes
  • Risk analyses

Before:

The IAPP is coming to Austin!

After:

Don’t miss out! The IAPP will be in your area only once in 2015.

 

Tip: See section 8 on HBTs for more examples of proven strategies and word choices for getting people to do what you want them to do.

7. Nice matters.

Yes, it’s a core IAPP value. So how do you reflect it in your copy? Keep it positive and helpful.

Before:

You must have an account to purchase this package. Create one or log in.

After:

Ready to get started? Purchase the package now (just make sure you log in or create a profile) or check out the package first to see what you get.

8. Weave in triggers.

It’s a proven fact. There are certain human behavior triggers (HBTs) that, when used effectively in copy, can help to influence the reader to make the desired choice (or, in other words, get ‘em to buy what we’re sellin’).

Before:

CIPM training coming to your area

After:

Joe, be among the first to achieve coveted CIPM status

[HBTs: Personalization; social proof and exclusivity]

Before:

We’re kicking off the year with two West Coast classes in your region.

After:

This class WILL sell out. It’s a can’t-miss career move.

[HBTs: scarcity; loss aversion]

Before:

Spring is in the air, and that means it’s time for a fresh start. Why not get started by growing your career with IAPP certification?

We’ll be in your area March 21–22, with two days of training to help you prepare for your CIPP exams. A Certification Foundation prep class will be held on day one, and you can choose either a CIPP/US or CIPP/G prep class on day two.

After:

The Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM) is the world’s first and only certification specifically designed for privacy professionals who manage governance and operations.

Because you’re an IAPP member, you’re among the first to be invited to attend this first-ever CIPM certification class in your area. This is your chance to become a highly sought-after IAPP-certified privacy professional.

Now you can get the skills you need to establish, maintain and manage a privacy program in your organization. Discover how to:

  • Create a company vision
  • Structure a privacy team
  • Develop and implement a privacy program framework

[HBTs: authority principle; compliance triggers; exclusivity; eye magnet words]

Writing for the Web

People visiting the web are looking to find information quickly and easily. And they rarely read a website word for word. So make it easy for them. Keep copy short, scannable and highlight the most important information.

These guideposts can help:

  • Maximize every word. Keep it short and to the point.
  • Make content scannable and easy to digest:

    • Use bulleted lists
    • Highlight keywords
    • Break up copy with meaningful subheads that reinforce the headline
    • Have a hierarchy. The most important messages are at the top and less important info should be at the bottom or on a deeper page.
  • Place calls to action (CTAs) where the eye can see them.
  • Use proof points (e.g. More than 8,600 people have already become certified)
  • Use keywords. As opposed to general words or pronouns (it, he, she, they).
  • Links should make sense. Don’t say things like “click here for more information”. Write the sentence as you normally would and link the appropriate words.

 

Tip: Before you even start writing, know who you’re writing for and why. Be clear about your goal and what action you want the reader to take.

The Nitty Gritty

The devil’s in the details, or so they say. While we don’t want to overwhelm you, there are some grammar and style points that we come across time and again in our copy. This is where you can find what you need to know about IAPP style.

The IAPP Name

Use full name in first reference: International Association of Privacy Professionals
Second reference: IAPP

Example: The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) is the world’s largest organization of privacy professionals. The IAPP was founded in 2000.

Always use: The IAPP, not IAPP

Always use: All caps (IAPP), never iapp

IAPP REGIONS: IAPP ANZ, IAPP Asia, IAPP Canada, IAPP Europe

When referencing IAPP regions, do not use “the” to precede IAPP.

Example: IAPP Europe held its first conference in Paris.

When we communicate about IAPP ANZ, use all caps, never lowercase iapp anz (though note that communications coming from IAPP ANZ may use lowercase)

IAPP EVENTS AND PROGRAMS

Use complete name, including year, in first reference; subsequent uses may be shortened.

Example: The IAPP Global Privacy Summit 2015 will be held in Washington, D.C. The Summit is the world’s largest gathering of privacy professionals.

Correct names:

  • IAPP Global Privacy Summit 2018 (abbr. Summit)
  • Privacy. Security. Risk. 2018 (abbr. P.S.R.)
    • History: As of 2016, P.S.R. parted ways with former partner CSA Congress and became, once again, a stand-alone IAPP event—but retained the umbrella name Privacy. Security. Risk. Previously (2003-2015), this event was IAPP Privacy Academy (abbr. Academy).
  • IAPP Canada Privacy Symposium 2018 (abbr. Symposium)
  • IAPP Europe Data Protection Congress 2018 (abbr. Congress)
  • IAPP Asia Privacy Forum 2018 (abbr. Forum)
  • IAPP Data Protection Intensive: UK 2019 (abbr. UK Intensive)
    • Formerly the IAPP Europe Data Protection Intensive (abbr. Intensive)
  • IAPP Data Protection Intensive: Deutschland 2018 (abbr. Munich Intensive)
  • IAPP Data Protection Intensive: France 2019 (abbr. Paris Intensive)

IAPP CERTIFICATION

IAPP credentials should be listed following the person’s name always in the following order:

CIPP/A, CIPP/C, CIPP/E, CIPP/G, CIPP/US, CIPM, CIPT, FIP

They should never be further abbreviated in this manner: CIPP/US/C/E

IAPP PRIVACY TRAINING

In most cases:

  • Do not use “IAPP” to precede the training name, unless necessary to differentiate from a non-IAPP training
  • If following the name with “training,” lowercase the t (Exception: May be capitalized in headlines)

    Example: Be sure to add Canadian Privacy training to your Symposium registration…

Correct names:

Canadian Privacy
European Data Protection
Privacy in Technology
Privacy Program Management
U.S. Government Privacy
U.S. Private-Sector Privacy

IAPP PUBLICATIONS

In general:

  • STYLE GUIDE UPDATE: Names of publications, including blogs and podcasts, should not be italicized.
  • The word “The” should only be capitalized as part of the publication name when it begins a sentence (exception: The Privacy Advisor should always appear in initial caps, including “The.”

Example:

The Daily Dashboard is an indispensable resource for privacy pros…

or

Example:

Sign up to receive The Privacy Advisor e-newsletter in your inbox…

 

Correct names:

Asia-Pacific Dashboard Digest
Canada Dashboard Digest
Career Central Digest
Daily Dashboard
European Data Protection Digest
Latin America Dashboard Digest
Privacy Perspectives
Privacy Tech
Privacy Tracker
The Privacy Advisor
The Privacy Advisor Podcast
Training Post Monthly
U.S. Privacy Digest

Global Headquarters

The IAPP occasionally uses “Global Headquarters” as part our return address. This should be the exception. It is only to be used with our Portsmouth address when mailing from the U.S. to an international region. For example, the return address on brochures for the IAPP Europe Data Protection Congress would be:

IAPP
Global Headquarters
Pease International Tradeport
75 Rochester Ave.
Portsmouth, NH 03801 USA

Mailings going to all members should not include “Global Headquarters” as part of the address.

IAPP Editorial Style

Yes, grammar can be fun!

But if parsing sentences and debating the merits of the serial comma isn’t your idea of a good time, we’ve compiled some of the more important items to know—and the IAPP exceptions to the rule.

Please note: We are currently transitioning this guide to follow the Associated Press Stylebook (AP style). Prior to mid-2017, IAPP style was based on the Chicago Manual of Style.

Abbreviations and Acronyms

  • Don’t use periods within abbreviations. Exceptions: U.S. and P.O. (as in P.O. box)
    Example: PhD, U.S. Army
  • Do not spell out HIPAA, UK, EU or COPPA
  • When an acronym will be used more than once, use the full name of the organization on first reference and immediately follow it with its abbreviation in parentheses. Use only the abbreviation in subsequent references.
    Example: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a report. The OMB report indicates…

    Note: Do not use the acronym at all if the term is not mentioned again in the document.
  • Use acronyms for party/state affiliations of elected officials.
    Example: Ted Kennedy (D-MA)

Addresses

  • Abbreviate the Street and Avenue in addresses with street numbers.
    Example: 100 Main St.; 100 Madison Ave.
  • Spell out Street and Avenue when used without a number.
    Example: Main Street; Madison Avenue
  • Never abbreviate Road; always spell out.
  • Single letter compass points accompanying a street name are followed by a period; two letter ones are not.
    Example: 100 N. Charles St.; 2050 SW Washington Ave.; 555 Lincoln Road NW

State Abbreviations

When abbreviating state names on mailing addresses, use the U.S. Postal Service style—no periods.
Example:
IAPP
Pease International Tradeport
75 Rochester Ave.
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Bios

Use the person’s full name in the first mention, with last name only used in the remainder of the copy.
Example:
J. Trevor Hughes, CIPP
J. Trevor Hughes is an attorney specializing in e-commerce, privacy and technology law. As President and CEO of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), Hughes leads the world’s largest association of privacy professionals….

PROFESSIONAL DESIGNATIONS AND ACADEMIC DEGREES

Member names should include only IAPP designations; other designations and academic degrees should be excluded. One exception to this rule is the use of designations in our textbooks.

Capitalization

Titles

  • In lists, signatures or other standalone instances, capitalize the title.
    Example:
    President & CEO J. Trevor Hughes
    Richard Thomas, Privacy Commissioner
  • In running text, capitalize the title when it precedes the name, but lowercase the title when it follows the name.
    Example:
    Senator Judd Gregg will attend the dinner.
    Judd Gregg, senator from New Hampshire, will attend the dinner.
  • Exception: Always lowercase attorney.
Capitalize
Don't Capitalize
Capitalize:
Specific Directives (capitalize the D)

Example: Directive 95/46/EC covers...
Don't Capitalize:
Non-specific references to a directive.

Example: The latest directive being considered by the committee...
Capitalize:
Act, law and program memorandum in the formal titles.

Example: The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (vs. the informal the budget act).

Example: Program Memorandum A00-1109; the program memorandum...
Don't Capitalize:
Government, federal, administration or executive branches unless they are part of the name of a government agency or organization.

Example: The agency; the human resources department; but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Capitalize:
Regions and well-known places.

Examples: Northeast, Western states, South Side of Chicago, East Coast, West Coast
Don't Capitalize:
Lesser-known places.

Examples:
seacoast New Hampshire
western Massachusetts

Dates and Times

Month and year

  • No comma after the month (This: October 2007, Not this: October, 2007 or this: October of 2007)

Decades and years

  • Spell out and lowercase decades or use figures with an “s”.
    Example: the seventies, 1980s (no apostrophe)
  • Use 2008 instead of ’08

Months

  • Spell out: October
  • Do not use a comma or “of” between month and year: October 2007
  • Use an en dash when talking about a range of days: May 1–17; do not use a space between the dates and the en dash.
  • Avoid: June 25th and instead use: June 25.

Time of day

  • Use a.m. (lowercase with periods) and p.m. (lowercase with periods)
    Follow these examples:
    11 a.m. – 2 p.m. (don’t use 11:00 or 2:00)
    1 – 3 p.m. (no need to use p.m. twice)
    9 – 11 a.m. (no need to use a.m. twice)

    Note: It is also acceptable to use 9 to 11 a.m. or 3 to 5 p.m. in running text.
  • Use en dashes between the times, not hyphens.
  • Use a space between the times and the en dash.
  • For 12 p.m., use the word noon in running text.

Time style in a sequence: time, date, place.

Example: The staff meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on December 1 in the kitchen.

Time zones

Include time zone when listing time for events in which people from multiple time zones will be participating (e.g., web conference, simulcast, etc.). Do not include time zone when listing times for events in which people will be attending in person, as it should be implied that the event is taking place on local time (e.g., KnowledgeNets, certification training/testing, conferences).

  • Use:

    • EST (for Eastern standard time)
    • CST (for Central standard time)
    • MST (for Mountain standard time)
    • PST (for Pacific standard time)
    • EDT (for Eastern daylight time)
    • CDT (for Central daylight time)
    • MDT (for Mountain daylight time)
    • PDT (for Pacific daylight time)
  • Difference between daylight and standard time:
    Daylight time = the period between the second Sunday in March and the first Sunday in November.
    Standard time = the period between the first Sunday in November and the second Sunday in March

Lists

There are two ways to make a list:

Introduced by a complete sentence:
I like many kinds of art:

  • Modern
  • Impressionist
  • Medieval
Introduced by an incomplete sentence:
I enjoy:

  • Music
  • Reading
  • Walking my dog

Punctuation within lists

  • If all list items are phrases, do not use punctuation at end of list items.
    Example:

    I like the following kinds of food:

    • Pasta
    • Steak
    • Vegetables

  • If all list items are one sentence only, do not use punctuation.
    Example:

    The following things happened at the restaurant:

    • I had a spicy curry dish
    • My friend had a hamburger
    • We both had martinis

  • If at least one list item contains two sentences, use punctuation for all list items.
    Example:

    My sister described her recent dinner party:

    • First, she served a fancy soup and lobster. Then, she made a soufflé for dessert.
    • She used her silver and china.
    • She invited her mother-in-law.

  • If any list item is a question, it takes a question mark, and all other list items are punctuated.
  • All items in a list should be parallel in grammatical structure. For example, avoid situations in which some list items are full sentences and other list items are fragments. Edit lists to make all list items consistent in structure.
  • Numbered lists should generally be used only to describe a series of sequential steps or occurrences.
  • Bulleted lists may contain second-level (or sub-bulleted) lists. Sub-bulleted lists are set with a dash rather than a bullet (to help distinguish them from the top level of the list).

Percents

  • In running text, spell out numbers under 10 and spell out the word percent.
    Example: There was a two percent increase…; registrations jumped 15 percent
  • In lists, tables, etc., use numerals and a percent sign: 2%
  • When a sentence begins with the number, spell it out and use the word “percent” immediately after it.
    Example: Ten percent of the staff voted to order lunch from Chipotle, but 90 percent wanted Loco Coco’s.
  • Refer to 0% as just 0, and use decimals only when dealing with fractions.
    0.7%, 3.5%, 11%
  • Use en-dashes for ranges of numbers.
    3%–10%

Numbers

  • Spell out numbers one through nine, and use numerals for 10 and above.
    Exception: Always use numerals for times of day
    Between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m...
  • Spell out any number that begins a sentence or headline. If spelling out the number makes the sentence awkward, recast the sentence.
  • Spell out fractions with a hyphen. It is better to use one-third rather than “a third.” If this makes the text awkward, use numerals.
    Example: two-thirds, two and one-quarter (“a half” is okay)

Telephone Numbers

+1 603.427.9200 or 800.266.6501

Note: no period between the +1 and the rest of the number; do not use the +1 with an 800 (toll-free) number

Punctuation

Quotes

  • Use smart quotes. (“) not (").
  • Headlines or subheads: Use single quotes.
  • To set up smart quotes (on a PC), click on “File” and scroll to “Options.” Select “Proofing” and then “AutoCorrect Options.” In the “AutoFormat” tab, under “Replace,” tick the “ ‘Straight quotes’ with ‘smart quotes’ ” box.
  • Placement of punctuation: Periods and commas go inside of quotes. Other punctuation goes outside unless it’s part of the quotation.

    Examples:
    Don’t you think it’s “groovy”?
    You should have seen the look on her face when he asked, “Where’s Joe?”
    His favorite words are “cat,” “up” and “No!”
  • Put a space between single and double quotes.
    “She told me he said, ‘I don’t want to see you ever again.’ ”
  • It is not usually necessary to put quotes around single words for emphasis.
    This: I wouldn’t say it’s typical. Not this: I wouldn’t say it’s “typical.”
  • Avoid using quotes for slang or colloquialisms.
  • Colons go outside of quotation marks (as do semicolons).
    Do this when you hear the word “en dash”: Run and get your handy style guide.

Ampersands

Don’t use them.
Breakfast and registration; not Breakfast & Registration
Exceptions: Trevor’s title; occasionally used in headlines for graphic appeal

Apostrophes

  • To form the possessive of a word that ends in s, add only an apostrophe.
    Example: Hughes’; Congress’; CMS’
  • Don’t use an apostrophe for plural acronyms, letters or figures.
    Example: The 1990s saw the expansion of the Internet; all the CPOs loved the conference.
  • Use an apostrophe when making the plural of a single letter.
    Example: Mind your P’s and Q’s.

Colons

Capitalize a word following a colon only if it is a proper noun or the start of a complete sentence. Use sparingly.
Examples:
The CPO promised this: The company would never suffer a data breach. There’s one thing we care about most: proper style.

Commas

  • Do not use serial commas
    Examples:
    “Our speakers will share their experiences, lessons learned and practical tips.”
    “For his birthday lunch, Margie couldn’t decide between pizza, Thai and Loco Coco’s.”
  • Use a comma after state abbreviations and after a person’s title or credentials.
    Examples:
    Trevor Hughes, CIPP, president of the IAPP, often has to travel abroad.
    The IAPP Global Privacy Summit 2015 is being held in a new Washington, DC, venue.
  • When Jr. or a roman numeral follows a person’s name, do not put a comma before it.
    Examples:
    John Smith Jr. does not like ice cream.
    Matthew Jones III, CIPP, loves his job.
  • When a company name is followed by Inc., LLP, Ltd. or others, do not put a comma before or after the abbreviation.
    Examples:
    This speaker is from Speechly Bircham LLP. Google Inc. sponsors this event each year.
  • Use commas before and after clauses that start with “which.”
    Example: Tracey made many improvements to the Advisor, which made members happy.
  • When “and,” “but” or “so” starts a sentence, you don’t need to use a comma immediately after the word.
    Example: And when you travel to the Summit, remember to bring your conference vest and comfortable shoes.

Em and en dashes

  • Em dashes (—) show an abrupt shift in thought and often travel in pairs.
    They are closed up to the text on either side. The em-dash can be created on the PC by using holding down the ALT key and typing 0151 on the numeric keypad. On the Mac, press Shift-Option and the minus key to make an em-dash.
    Example: The Academy was the best conference—and believe me, I have been to many—I ever attended.
  • En dashes (–) are longer than hyphens (-) but shorter than em dashes. They usually appear with numbers to indicate “to” or “through.”
    On the PC, you can get an en-dash by holding down the ALT key and pressing 0150 on the numeric keypad. On the Mac, you can get the en-dash by pressing the option and dash keys simultaneously.
    Examples:
    13–22 weeks
    8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    December 7–9, 2010
  • En dashes are also used in a compound adjective of more than one word
    Examples:
    Privacy Academy–related
    York, Maine–based association (but York-based)

Hyphens and hyphenation

  • Use a hyphen if not using one could create confusion (e.g., re-create vs. recreate).
    Also check our house dictionary or the spelling quick list.
  • Don’t hyphenate -ly adverbs.
    Examples:
    personally identifiable information
    a rapidly changing environment

Italics

Use italics for title of works: books, monographs, reports, audiotapes, films, newspapers, TV series, magazines, pamphlets or videotapes.
Examples: Gossip Girl, Sports Illustrated, The Boston Globe, Casablanca

Gender

Use “he or she” rather than “he/she” when discussing singular nouns. When possible, recast the sentence/paragraph to plural.
Examples:
Every employee should read his or her style guide to ensure consistency.
Employees should read their style guides to ensure consistency.
Even better: You should read your style guide to ensure consistency.

Spacing

Between sentences: Always one space; never two.

Quick Spelling List

A

antitrust

B

binding corporate rules (BCRs)

board of directors (all lowercase) (Exception: IAPP Board member)

C

clearnet (one word)

coworker (no hyphen)

cross-border (hyphen)

cybercrimes (one word)

cybersecurity (one word)

cyber risk (two words)

cyber insurance (two words)

D

dark market

darknet (one word)

darknet market

Digital Age

E

email (no hyphen)—NEW FOR 2015

EU (no periods)

e-discovery (hyphen) (Use E-Discovery in headlines—capital E and D)

F

Fair Information Practice Principles (initial caps)

G

General Data Protection Regulation (abbr. GDPR)

H

healthcare (one word)

I

ID

The IAPP (all caps), not IAPP

(This: The IAPP held its most successful Academy ever. Not this: IAPP held its most successful Academy ever.)

IAPP Board member (Capitalize the B in Board; lowercase the m in member)

in-depth

Internet (capital I)

J

K

KnowledgeNet Chapter

L

listserve (one word, “e” at the end)

log in (v.) (two words) (For more information, please log in to the member website.)

log-in (adj.) (Please supply your log-in credentials.)

M

member state(s), not Member States

N

nonprofit (no hyphen)

noncompliance (no hyphen)

nonmember (no hyphen)

O

ongoing (one word)

opt in (verb)

opt-in (noun, modifier)

P

plaintext

policymaker (one word)

preconference (no hyphen)

Privacy by Design (capital P, capital D)

Privacy List (capital P, capital L)

Q

R

S

Safe Harbor (capital S, capital H)

Social Security number(s) (capitalize the S in Social and Security; lowercase the n in number) (But, when using acronym: SSN)

T

theater

(Use the American spelling of theater [not theatre] unless the name of a place uses the “theatre” spelling, for example, Madison Theatre.)

toward (not towards)

trans-border (note hyphen)

U

UK (no periods)

U.S. (with periods), not US

USA PATRIOT Act

W

web

web page

website (one word)

Wi-Fi (note capitalization and hyphen)

workplace

X, Y and Z

Acronym Bank

It’s no secret. The IAPP loves our acronyms. (We all know what IAPP S14 CFP PC means, right?) But if you sometimes get as confused as we do, here’s a quick cheat sheet of some of the most commonly used privacy-related acronyms.

ACLU
American Civil Liberties Union
AFCDP
Association Francaise Des correspondants A La Protectection Des Donnees A Caractere Personnel (French Association of Data Protection Correspondents)
ALRC
Australian Law Reform Commission
APEC
Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation
BCRs
binding corporate rules
CAN-SPAM
Controlling the Assault of Non-solicited Marketing and Pornography Act of 2003
CASL
Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation/Law
CDT
Center for Democracy and Technology
CFPB
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
CNIL
Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertes (French Data Protection Authority)
COPPA
Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act
DHS
Department of Homeland Security
DPG
Digital Policy Group
DPO
data privacy officer
EC
European Commission
EDL
enhanced driver’s license
EPIC
Electronic Privacy Information Center
EU
European Union
ESPC
Email Sender and Provider Coalition
FACT Act
Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003
FCC
Federal Communications Commission
FCRA
Fair Credit Reporting Act
FIPPs
Fair Information Practice Principles
FOIA
Freedom of Information Act
FTC
Federal Trade Commission
GAO
Government Accountability Office
GDD
German Association for Data Protection and Data Security
GDPR
General Data Protection Regulation
GLBA
Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act
HHS
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—not DHHS
HIPAA
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996
ICANN
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
ICO
Information Commissioner’s Office (UK)
ISP
Internet service provider
MEP
Members of Parliament (EU)
NAI
Network Advertising Initiative
OBA
online behavioral advertising
OECD
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
OISPP
Office of Information Security and Privacy Protection (California)
OPC
Office of the Privacy Commissioner (Canada)
OMB
Office of Budget Management
P2P
peer-to-peer network
PIA
privacy impact assessment
PCI (DSS)
Payment Card Industry (Data Security Standards)
PII
personally identifiable information
PIN
personal identification number
PIPA
Personal Information Protection Act
PIPEDA
Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act
PRC
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
RFID
radio frequency identification
SEC
Security and Exchange Commission
SSN
Social Security number
TSA
Transportation Security Administration

International Style

The IAPP is headquartered in the U.S., and while we are a global organization and we communicate with members in many different countries, we use American English as our default.

However, at times it makes sense to use the spelling and style that are the norm when we’re talking to a specific region. For example, when marketing an event in that region (online or in print).

Here’s a list of the most commonly used spellings and style points that you may need to know.

Spellings

U.S.
Canada
Europe/Asia
Australia/New Zealand
U.S.:
capitalize
Canada:
capitalize
Europe/Asia:
capitalise
Australia/New Zealand:
capitalise
U.S.:
center
Canada:
centre
Europe/Asia:
centre
Australia/New Zealand:
centre
U.S.:
color
Canada:
colour
Europe/Asia:
colour
Australia/New Zealand:
colour
U.S.:
criticize
Canada:
criticize
Europe/Asia:
criticise
Australia/New Zealand:
criticise
U.S.:
emphasize
Canada:
emphasize
Europe/Asia:
emphasise
Australia/New Zealand:
emphasise
U.S.:
formalize
Canada:
formalize
Europe/Asia:
formalise
Australia/New Zealand:
formalise
U.S.:
fulfill;
fulfillment
Canada:
fulfil;
fulfilment
Europe/Asia:
fulfil;
fulfilment
Australia/New Zealand:
fulfil;
fulfilment
U.S.:
harbor
Canada:
harbor
Europe/Asia:
harbour
Australia/New Zealand:
harbour
U.S.:
harmonize;
harmonization
Canada:
harmonize;
harmonization
Europe/Asia:
harmonise;
harmonisation
Australia/New Zealand:
harmonise;
harmonisation
U.S.:
honor
Canada:
honour
Europe/Asia:
honour
Australia/New Zealand:
honour
U.S.:
humor
Canada:
humour
Europe/Asia:
humour
Australia/New Zealand:
humour
U.S.:
installment
Canada:
instalment
installment
Europe/Asia:
instalment
Australia/New Zealand:
instalment
U.S.:
labor
Canada:
labour
Europe/Asia:
labour
Australia/New Zealand:
labour
U.S.:
legitimize
Canada:
legitimize
Europe/Asia:
legitimise
Australia/New Zealand:
legitimise
U.S.:
license
Canada:
licence (n.);
license (v.)
Europe/Asia:
licence (n.);
license (v.)
Australia/New Zealand:
licence (n.);
license (v.)
U.S.:
neighbor
Canada:
neighbour
Europe/Asia:
neighbour
Australia/New Zealand:
neighbour
U.S.:
offense
Canada:
offence
Europe/Asia:
offence
Australia/New Zealand:
offence
U.S.:
organize;
organization
Canada:
organize;
organization
Europe/Asia:
organise;
organisation
Australia/New Zealand:
organise;
organisation
U.S.:
penalize;
penalization
Canada:
penalize;
penalization
Europe/Asia:
penalize;
penalisation
Australia/New Zealand:
penalise;
penalisation
U.S.:
practice
Canada:
practice (n.);
practise (v.)
Europe/Asia:
practice (n.);
practise (v.)
Australia/New Zealand:
practice (n.);
practise (v.)
U.S.:
program
Canada:
program
Europe/Asia:
programme
Australia/New Zealand:
programme
U.S.:
realize
Canada:
realize
Europe/Asia:
realise
Australia/New Zealand:
realise
U.S.:
recognize
Canada:
recognize
Europe/Asia:
recognise
Australia/New Zealand:
recognise
U.S.:
rumor
Canada:
rumour
Europe/Asia:
rumour
Australia/New Zealand:
rumour
U.S.:
specialize
Canada:
specialize
Europe/Asia:
specialise
Australia/New Zealand:
specialise
U.S.:
theater
Canada:
theatre
Europe/Asia:
theatre
Australia/New Zealand:
theatre

Dates

U.S. and Canada
Europe and Asia
U.S. and Canada:
May 24, 2011
Europe and Asia:
24 May 2011

Time zones

Include time zone when listing time for events in which people from multiple time zones will be participating (e.g., a web conference).

Don’t clutter it up by including time zones for events that people will attend in person. People will understand that the event will be happening on local time.

  • Use:

    • GMT (for Greenwich mean time: London)
    • CET (for central European time: Brussels)
    • HKT (for Hong Kong time)
    • SGT (for Singapore time)
    • BST (for British summer time [during daylight savings]: London)
    • CEST (for central European summer time [during daylight savings: Brussels)
    • Neither Hong Kong nor Singapore participate in daylight savings, so their time zones remain the same year-round

 

Hour formats

U.S. and Canada
Europe and Asia
U.S. and Canada:
12:00 a.m.
Europe and Asia:
24:00
U.S. and Canada:
12:30 a.m.
Europe and Asia:
0:30
U.S. and Canada:
1 a.m.
Europe and Asia:
1:00
U.S. and Canada:
2 a.m.
Europe and Asia:
2:00
U.S. and Canada:
3 a.m.
Europe and Asia:
3:00
U.S. and Canada:
4 a.m.
Europe and Asia:
4:00
U.S. and Canada:
5 a.m.
Europe and Asia:
5:00
U.S. and Canada:
6 a.m.
Europe and Asia:
6:00
U.S. and Canada:
7 a.m.
Europe and Asia:
7:00
U.S. and Canada:
8 a.m.
Europe and Asia:
8:00
U.S. and Canada:
9 a.m.
Europe and Asia:
9:00
U.S. and Canada:
10 a.m.
Europe and Asia:
10:00
U.S. and Canada:
11 a.m.
Europe and Asia:
11:00
U.S. and Canada:
12 p.m.
Europe and Asia:
12:00
U.S. and Canada:
12:30 p.m.
Europe and Asia:
12:30
U.S. and Canada:
1 p.m.
Europe and Asia:
13:00
U.S. and Canada:
2 p.m.
Europe and Asia:
14:00
U.S. and Canada:
3 p.m.
Europe and Asia:
15:00
U.S. and Canada:
4 p.m.
Europe and Asia:
16:00
U.S. and Canada:
5 p.m.
Europe and Asia:
17:00
U.S. and Canada:
6 p.m.
Europe and Asia:
18:00
U.S. and Canada:
7 p.m.
Europe and Asia:
19:00
U.S. and Canada:
8 p.m.
Europe and Asia:
20:00
U.S. and Canada:
9 p.m.
Europe and Asia:
21:00
U.S. and Canada:
10 p.m.
Europe and Asia:
22:00
U.S. and Canada:
11 p.m.
Europe and Asia:
23:00

Punctuation

Quotes are the opposite of American style:

  • Europe and Asia use single quotation marks (‘) first, then double quotation marks
  • Europe and Asia put periods, commas and other punctuation following a quote outside of the closing quotation mark unless part of the quoted material.
    Examples:
    He said, ‘Hello, neighbor’.
    She replied, ‘You haven’t said, “Hello, neighbor” in ages’.